Debut Author Series: UPDATES

After the Debut

After the debut… By Nicky Schmidt 

As a round up to a busy year and a half of Debut Author Interviews, I decided to find out what happened to our authors after that first thrilling experience of becoming a published author. 

Has it been all plain sailing or has it been a challenge? Have riches, success and glory followed? What lessons have been learned, what experience gained? I caught up with several authors to find out what life after the debut has been like. 

Photo by  Liz Emerson

Jo Franklin 

I think the most important thing I can pass on is that there is not a single path to publication. Every author’s journey is different and each journey is valid, so don’t have fixed ideas about what success looks like because you will be disappointed. 

I am not disappointed! 

I haven’t had a massive, life changing book deal but my Help! series will now be coming out in the UK from next year so I’m hoping to build on that by doing more school visits, library talks and festivals. Meanwhile the rights have been sold to the US, Germany and France. 

My UK publisher is Troika. They may not be the largest publisher but that means I can build firm relationships with a few people which suits me at the moment. I should be able to learn a lot too, which fits in with my philosophy of constantly widening your horizons. I’m also in the lucky position of having already written the existing three books in the series so I won’t have to deal with ‘second book syndrome’ while rushing around publicising the first book. 

Meanwhile, I am writing something new and I have some commissioned work for Fiction Express, where I develop a story over five weeks and schools vote on what happens next week. Lots happening. I love being an author.

Author website  


Christina Banach 

Since Minty was published I’ve had the privilege of participating in events such as the inaugural UKYA Extravaganza and the SCBWI-BI industry panel at the Edinburgh International Book Festival as well as visiting various schools and libraries, and talking to book clubs and writing groups etc. 

I’ve also had the good fortune to feature on a number of blogs and to have given several radio and newspaper interviews. 

All of this is fun and exciting but added to the demands of social media it can eat away at the working day. So the biggest lesson for me since debuting has been learning how to balance these various aspects of my new life in order to give me the headspace I need to write with the same passion I had pre-publication. To do this I had to accept that sometimes it’s OK - in fact, essential - to say ‘no’ to requests on occasion (not often) and to switch off the router each morning and thus ignore the siren call of the Internet (Facebook and Twitter!) to concentrate on the manuscript. In short, the writing must always come first. 

And guess what? It works! The evidence? Book 2 is almost complete and I’m more in love with writing than ever. 

Minty was nominated for a 2014 Cybil Award (Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards) and shortlisted for this year’s SCBWI Crystal Kite Award. It was the Scottish Book Trust Teen’s Book of the Month for December 2014. 

Author website 

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SCBWI-BI “member abroad”, Nicky Schmidt is an ex scriptwriter, copywriter, and marketing, brand and communications director who "retired" early to follow a dream. Although she still occasionally consults on marketing, communications and brand strategies, mostly she writes YA fiction (some of which leans towards New Adult) in the magical realism and supernatural genres. When not off in some other world, Nicky also writes freelance articles - mostly lifestyle and travel - for which she does her own photography. Her work has been published in several South African magazines and newspapers. As well as being a regular feature writer for Words & Pictures, Nicky also runs the SCBWI-BI YA e-critique group. Nicky lives in Cape Town with her husband and two rescue Golden Retrievers.

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